Investing.com - U.S. stock prices hit a record high for a second consecutive day on Wednesday after better-than-expected jobs data fueled hopes the U.S. economy is on the mend.
At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.30%, the S&P 500 index ended up 0.11%, while the Nasdaq Composite index slipped 0.05%.
In the U.S., payroll processor ADP reported earlier that private-sector, non-farm payrolls rose by 198,000 in February, beating expectations for an increase of 170,000.
January's figure was revised up to a gain of 215,000 from a previously reported increase of 192,000.
Elsewhere, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that factory orders fell by 2% in January, less than market calls for a drop of 2.2%.
The data sparked fresh talk that the Federal Reserve may be closer to winding down monetary stimulus tools, including a monthly USD85 billion bond-buying program known as quantitative easing, which weakens the dollar by flooding the financial system full of liquidity to spur recovery.
Stimulus measures inflate stock prices often by design, though investors went long anyway on sentiment that quarterly earnings have suggested that corporations are seeing fundamental improvements in their businesses, which fueled demand for stocks throughout the day.
Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Bank of America, up 3.29%, Hewlett-Packard, up 2.80%, and Alcoa up 2.63%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included Microsoft, down 0.99%, AT&T, down 0.85%, and Verizon Communications, down 0.84%.
European indices, meanwhile, finished largely lower.
After the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 fell 0.12%, France's CAC 40 fell 0.35%, while Germany's DAX 30 finished up 0.62%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 finished down 0.07%.
On Thursday in the U.S., the government will publish its weekly government report on initial jobless claims and official data on the trade balance.
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